Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Red Writing

Well, would you look at that?  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

Wowee! did last week disappear fast!

I have a tons-of-fun, 3 day old book to share with you today.  I hope you like it!

Title: Little Red Writing
Written By: Joan Holub
Illustrated By: Melissa Sweet
Chronicle Books, September 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: Fairy Tale retelling, writing, bravery

Opening: “Once upon a time in pencil school, a teacher named Ms. 2 told her class, “Today we’re going to write a story!”
“Yippee!” said the birthday pencil.
“Slammin’,” siad the basketball pencil.
“Sharp!” said Little Red.”

Brief Synopsis: Ms. 2 sets her pupils on the story path and let’s them loose to write their very own stories.  The other pencils stick to what they know about, but Little Red wants to write “a story about bravery because red is the color of courage.”  With a basket of 15 red words from Ms. 2 to use in case she runs into trouble, Little Red sets out to find adventure.

Links To Resources: The obvious resource here is the book itself accompanied by giving kids the opportunity to write their own story!  If they need a little help getting started, supply some story starters.  They can base their story on a well-known fairy tale – like Little Red Riding Hood 🙂  You can give them a “basket” with 3-5 words that they must include in their story.  You can give them an opening line and let them continue, for example, “Once upon a time there was a lonely princess whose best friend was a bear…” or “The night I threw pizza on the roof Mom got really mad…”  For younger kids, you could make up the story together.  There is a classroom guide aligned to common core HERE but be forewarned it took awhile to load.  Hang in there, though.  It shows up eventually 🙂

Why I Like This Book:  I love fractured fairy tales.  I love clever.  And I love books that show kids the fun in writing and teach them a little something about how to do it in the process.  In this story, Ms. 2 (the teacher) writes “The Story Path” on the blackboard: “1. Idea, characters, setting  2. Trouble  3. Even bigger trouble  4. Fix the trouble.”  She gives Little Red a basket of emergency nouns.  As Little Red travels her story path she discovers that action verbs are better than boring ones, adjectives may overwhelm your story and need to be cut down, conjunctions can get you in trouble with run on sentences, adverbs can be helpful (“We deliver speedily!”), that the right word in the right place can make all the difference, and that it takes courage to follow your story through to the end… but it’s worth it when you share it with a rapt audience 🙂  Melissa Sweet’s art (which I love – if you haven’t seen Balloons Over Broadway check it out immediately! :)) is the perfect accompaniment for this story as Little Red wends her way through the forest of adjectives and has to face down the Wolf 3000!  (Can you guess what that is??? :))  I also love the little extra touches, like the fact that they attend the Pencilvania School, and the cover page admonition to “Write often and carry a big notebook” 🙂

This book would pair well with Aunt Isabel Tells A Good One.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Before we all head off to read all the other Perfect Picture Books, I’d just like to let you know that on Monday we’ll be having a special guest!  She’s pretty entertaining, so you won’t want to miss her debut appearance!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And PPBF bloggers, please be sure to leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come visit!

51 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Red Writing

  1. julie says:

    Looking very much forward to reading this! I've got a nice compliment in red to your pick today. Hope your next week is slower and filled with blue sky!

  2. sue heavenrich says:

    I love love love Melissa Sweet's books – and definitely want to read this one! I mean really, a pencil that teaches writing? Maybe I can learn something…

  3. Rhythm says:

    I've got this one on my want list! I love books about words and how to use them. I don't always understand the words, but I love the sound.

  4. Wendy Greenley says:

    This book has gotten a lot a early buzz–you're lucky to have your hands on a copy already, Susanna! I'm guessing the Wolf is an eraser. 🙂

  5. Clarbojahn says:

    What a darling sounding book! So very clever! I love stories that encourage kids to write their own stories as well. My friend and mentor, Bobbi, does that in her book, Storee Wryter, too. She has a cat named Critique in it. One difference is that it is not a picture book but an easy reader or maybe a MG.

    And yes! This week has flown by. Like summer on the wind.

  6. Teresa Robeson says:

    Such a clever and fun way to introduce kids to the hows of writing a good story while telling them a good story! Really brilliant.

    Can't wait to see your guest blogger; have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Joanne Roberts says:

    I had heard about this book, but had no idea what it was about. To be honest, a talking pencil is not something I would've picked up on my own, but this text sounds FABULOUS! And of course, I need no coaxing to read a picture book by Melissa Sweet. This is just another example of why I love Perfect Picture Book Fridays! Thanks, Susanna!

  8. Patricia Tilton says:

    What a very creative and clever idea for a PB. This is the first time I've seen a fractured fairy tale told with an object like pencils/crayons etc. What a great way to teach kids how to write a story. LOVE this book!

  9. Beth Stilborn says:

    This book sounds fabulous, Susanna! My choice this week is also about writing, in one of those happy PPBF coincidences. Chester's Masterpiece features a cat who takes over Melanie Watts' writing supplies, and attempts his own picture book.

  10. Joanna Marple says:

    I have heard a lot of people raving about this one, Susanna, and I must put a hold on it in the library. Of course, Melissa Sweet's illustrations are knockout as ever!

  11. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    I loved this book too! 😀 The play on words is great (The “Write” brothers 😉 ) in this one! 😀 Why, I've been hearing a lot about this book lately. It's almost as if multiple people are reviewing it… 😉

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Maybe we ALL can 🙂 And how funny that several other people posted books with a writing theme this week! If we can't learn from this one, perhaps from Laura's or Beth's… I can't remember who else besides Erik who posted this same book!


  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I know! I love books like this. Aunt Isabel Tells A Good One is like it, and how funny that Beth and Laura both posted books about writing and Erik also posted this one – we must all have writing on the brain 🙂 I'm so glad you're looking forward to my guest! So far that makes 2 of us 🙂

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I was hooked by the obvious fractured fairy tale aspect and the clear reference to writing – I just HAD to read it 🙂 I hope you get a chance to take a look at it – it's really fun and Melissa Sweet's art is always worth a perusal! And you're right – I often want to read books because someone has recommended them so whole-heartedly that I might never have picked up or even known about otherwise. Yay for PPBF! 🙂

  15. Susan Cabael says:

    After reading two reviews of this book (thanks, Erik!) back-to-back, I headed to the bookstore and bought it. The more I reread the book, the more ideas I get for how to use it in my classroom. I'm always excited to have a new mentor text in my collection! Thanks for bringing Little Red Writing to my attention.

  16. Kirsten Larson says:

    I have heard so many great things about this book. I hope my library has it. I'm especially intrigued, as I'm taking a class about teaching writing to K-3 right now. This would make a great lesson.

  17. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Oh this looks like a good one. I added several of these to my library list this week. I bought several books at conference this weekend, so my book money budget it spent for a little bit!

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